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Momentum Mag reviews the Chrome Saddle Bag Rolltop Pannier 20.
PRICE $160.00 USD/ $242.55 CAD
FIND IT AT chromeindustries.com
The Chrome Saddle Bag Rolltop 20 is a waterproof, market-style rear pannier. This bag is 100% waterproof and built to last with Chrome’s Knurled Welded construction. Details include a laptop sleeve (fits a naked 15” MacBook), small interior pockets, a shoulder strap, and exterior loops. With the included rack adapter, the bag is hardware-free and lightweight, with expandable rolltop closure.
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Two things of note. First, it’s clear from daily use and looks alone that this bag will last a long time. In fact, it’s covered under Chrome’s Guaranteed for Life warranty program. The construction is incredibly solid – with a 600-denier poly upper and an even more robust bottom panel. By taking the hardware off of the bag and integrating with the Chrome rack adapter, this bag is convenient off the bike as a tote. The 20-litre size is small and compact for daily commuting needs and the MOLLE loop system allows for many attachments.
The integrated rack adapter is an interesting idea, but I’m not convinced of it’s value. First of all, the rack I had planned on using wasn’t compatible with the adapter, so I couldn’t use this bag on my preferred bike. Installing the adapter on my second choice wasn’t very difficult, but once installed I couldn’t use any of my other pannier bags or rack accessories on that side. However, the big issue I have is the difficulty in putting this bag onto the rack adapter. With three contact points to hit, ease of attachment really depends on what you have packed inside. When the bag is half empty and light, I find it takes a lot of “man-handling” to get the bag to slide onto the adapter, and I end up crushing everything inside as I try and maneuver it into place. When the bag is full, it can bow out slightly and create an even more difficult installation. Compared to most other panniers I’ve used, the effort to put this bag on your bike is very frustrating considering it should be a 1-2 second process. Taking it off – no problem and it is secure when riding.
There are many things to like about the bag itself. It’s very well constructed, waterproof, and sleek. Having a bag without hardware is a bonus when you are shopping off the bike but the interior organization is tight and you should check the size of your laptop with case if you plan to commute that way. Overall, the rack adapter system has been challenging to use and I am not convinced the benefits outweigh the challenges.
David Niddrie is Momentum Mag’s Photo Editor. @davidniddrie